by Alayna Pehrson, content management specialist for Best Company, November 26, 2018

It’s the time of year when people start making both online and in-store purchases for their loved ones. When holiday deals appear, most people enjoy indulging the spirit of giving. Unfortunately, many identity thieves and cybercriminals don’t feel the same spirit and often target holiday shoppers.

According to a recent poll conducted by Branded Research, 7 out 10 U.S. consumers said that identity theft protection and cybersecurity are important to them when they do online holiday shopping.

Director of Insights at Branded Research, Kristen Miles, explained that “women are slightly more likely than men to say that identity theft protection and cybersecurity are very important to them when online holiday shopping. And older consumers over the age of 45 are more likely than consumers under the age of 44 to say that identity theft protection and cybersecurity are important to them when online holiday shopping.”

The real tragedy is that there are still many holiday shoppers who fail to take the precautions to keep their identities safe, which, unfortunately, makes them easy targets. You may be pleased with how much you save on holiday gifts, but you may not even realize just how much you’ve sacrificed when it comes to personal security.

As our gift to you, we asked identity theft and cybersecurity experts to provide security tips and advice for online holiday shoppers this season.

Online shopping

Jonathan Gossels, President of SystemExperts

Consolidate all of your online purchases onto a single credit card; when you get your monthly statement it will be much easier to recognize any fraudulent charges.

Don’t download any software programs from a shopping site — modern browsers have all the software you will need for routine cyber-shopping. If a site asks you to download software, leave the site and close your browser because the site is most likely trying to trick you into downloading malware onto your system.
Don’t enter your credit card number or any personal information into any web page that doesn’t show the encryption lock or https://: at the beginning of the URL (website address). That https tells your browser to send your content across the internet in an encrypted form so your credit card and other sensitive information can’t be read or intercepted in transit. The encryption lock icon is the symbol for HTTPS encryption.”
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